We mentioned this last week, but last night the inaugural Wilson Defensive Awards were announced on MLB Network. As we said previously: sponsored awards like this are kind of “whatever,” but in a world where people still take the Gold Glove awards seriously, I’m cool with any viable competitor.
As you’ll recall, there were awards for the best overall defensive team, the best defender in each league, as well as the best defensive player per team.
The results, with the up-front head-smacking due to the fact that the best overall defensive team had its season end because they totally stunk up the NL Wild Card game with poor defense:
BEST OVERALL TEAM – Atlanta Braves
BEST OVERALL IN NL – Michael Bourn
BEST OVERALL IN AL – Mike Trout
TEAM BY TEAM:
Yankees – Robinson Cano
Orioles – JJ Hardy
Red Sox – Dustin Pedroia
Blue Jays – Brett Lawrie
Rays – Jose Molina
Twins – Denard Span
Tigers – Austin Jackson
Royals – Lorenzo Cain
White Sox – Alexei Ramirez
Indians – Jason Kipnis
Mariners – Brendan Ryan
Rangers – Adrian Beltre
Angels – Mike Trout
A’s – Josh Reddick
Phillies – Carlos Ruiz
Marlins – Giancarlo Stanton
Nationals – Adam LaRoche
Braves – Michael Bourn
Mets – David Wright
Cardinals – Yadier Molina
Pirates – Andrew McCutchen
Cubs – Darwin Barney
Astros – Justin Maxwell
Brewers – Carlos Gomez
Reds – Brandon Phillips
Giants – Brandon Crawford
Dodgers – Matt Kemp
Diamondbacks – Aaron Hill
Rockies – Carlos Gonzalez
Padres – Chase Headley
The Orioles have re-signed outfielder Michael Bourn to a minor league contract with an invitation to major league camp, MASN’s Roch Kubatko reports.
Bourn, 34, joined the Orioles last year in a trade from the Diamondbacks on August 31. Though he compiled a meager .669 OPS with the Diamondbacks, Bourn hit a solid .283/.358/.435 in 55 plate appearances with the O’s through the end of the season.
Bourn, a non-roster invitee to camp, will try to play his way onto the Orioles’ 25-man roster. If he does make the roster, Bourn will receive a $2 million salary, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports points out.
Diamondbacks starter Shelby Miller had about as bad a season as one can have. He was the headliner in the trade that sent 2015 No. 1 overall pick Dansby Swanson, All-Star outfielder Ender Inciarte, and highly-regarded pitching prospect Aaron Blair to the Braves. It was a trade that was pilloried at the time and continues to be pilloried to this day.
Miller didn’t do then-GM Dave Stewart any favors with his 2016 performance. He went 3-12 with a 6.15 ERA and a 70/42 K/BB ratio over 101 innings. That included a bout with mechanical failure, as he kept hitting the mound with his follow-through. He went on the disabled list. And after that, he was demoted to Triple-A. After getting fired, Stewart expressed remorse over acquiring Miller — or, more accurately, giving up Swanson to do so.
So, the 26-year-old Miller heads into 2017 without any momentum. To his credit, though, he’s going into the new season with a very positive perspective. Via Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports:
I’m just in a really happy place, away from the field, on the field. […]
Maybe it’s just the way I go about everything, trying to be positive in every single aspect of life. Baseball’s not perfect. I’m not perfect. I know bumps in the road are going to happen. Last year was obviously not just a bump, but a huge mountain. Right now, that’s completely behind me. I’m not worried about any of that.
I’m really ready for this year, ready to redeem myself so much.
Even pitching coach Mike Butcher sees the change in Miller’s mentality. “He’s not a different guy. But you can see there’s a presence in him. That’s what we need. Just be Shelby Miller. You don’t have to live up to anything. Just be yourself.”
Manager Torey Lovullo, too, praised Miller. “I saw a guy who had spent a lot of time taking care of his business in the weight room — he looks fantastic, in fantastic shape,” he said.
It sounds like Miller is not only in great mental shape, but great physical shape, too. Is it the “best shape of his life”? Only time can tell.